Di San Xian, Potatoes, Eggplant, Bell Peppers Stir-Fry 地三鲜

Have you heard of this Chinese Dongbei 东北 dish - Di San Xian 地三鲜 ? I have not, till few months ago when my friend "whatsApp-ed" me a photo of what she cooked - a dish consisting of these three ingredients: eggplant, potato and green bell pepper, then told me it was Di San Xian. I may not have tasted this dish but it is making its way to my to-do list nonetheless.

Di San Xian 地三鲜, loosely translates to “three delights from the earth” .."a stir-fry of golden fried potatoes, eggplant wedges and crisp green peppers, laced with vinegar and studded with garlic that tastes like much more than the sum of its parts" (Source: NYTimes.com).

With the potatoes, this is such a hearty dish for winter. The seasoning also cleverly works its way and marry the potatoes, eggplant and bell peppers so magically with notes of savory and sweet, complemented by sour black vinegar hints.

Traditionally, the ingredients should be sliced to wedges but bigger pieces meant having to use more cooking oil to cook through the ingredients especially the potatoes. So the ingredients were prepared to smaller cube sizes instead, to allow faster cooking in an alternative less-grease cooking method - i.e. combination of "pan-frying + steaming" (similar to how this Garlic Eggplant is done).

Di San Xian 地三鲜/Stir-Fry Potatoes, Eggplant, Bell Peppers
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 green onions, bottom white and top green parts separated, slice to bite-sizes and keep them separated
1 medium Russet potato, cubed
1 Italian globe eggplant or 2-3 Chinese eggplant, cubed (peel off the skin if you wish to and certainly more authentic if you remove the skin; HOWEVER, I prefer to keep the skin-on for nutrition's sake and less wastage)
1 green bell peppers, cubed
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp black vinegar

Directions: Heat 1tbsp oil in a non-stick pan and pan-fry the potatoes till they are crisp and golden brown on the outside, then cover the pan and steam the potatoes to cook. This will take about 10-15 minutes depending on size of potato cubes. When potatoes are cooked, dish out and set aside. Add 1tbsp of oil into the pan again and saute the eggplants, then cover the pan and steam the eggplant to cook (similar to Garlic Eggplant recipe). When cooked, add the garlic, then add the cooked potatoes back to the pan. Add the bell peppers, toss and mix well. Add soy sauce and sugar, toss and thoroughly mix all the ingredients. Cover the pan and let it simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes, the add in black vinegar towards end of cooking, mix well.

Serve warm with steamed rice.

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